Noccilò Alberti de Prato

Noccilò Alberti de Prato, cardinal and papal legate


Nicolo Alberti was born in 1250 in Prato. At the age of 16, he entered the Dominican priory of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. He studied in Paris, where he earned a doctorate in theology, then taught at the Roman convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerwa. In 1296, he became the order's procurator general, responsible for the order's contact with the Vatican. A year later, he was elected provincial of the Roman province, in addition, he was given the title of preacher general. On July 1, 1299, Pope Boniface VIII elevated him to episcopal dignity and sent him to France as his legate to settle a dispute between King Philip IV of France and King Edward I of England. Around mid-1302, he became vicar of Rome. He became famous for performing works of mercy - interceding for the poor and hungry, and founding churches and monasteries. On December 18, 1303, Pope Benedict XI, his religious confrere and friend, appointed him a cardinal and sent him as his legate to civil war-ridden Tuscany, where he was to bring peace. However, his actions were not successful.

In 1305, as dean of the Sacred College, he presided over the conclave that elected Clement V. The new pope sent him to France and entrusted him to examine the doctrine that Peter Olivi had preached. From 1311 to 1312, Niccolò Alberti served as papal legate in Italy; moreover, on June 29, 1312, he presided over the imperial coronation of King Henry VII of Germany on behalf of the Pope. During the pontificate of John XXII, he no longer participated in diplomatic missions, performed tasks in the Roman curia, and consecrated bishops. As early as the time of Pope Clement V, he undertook work in the canonization trials of Rajmund of Penyafort and Thomas Aquinas. Throughout this time, he was characterized by a humanistic spirit and was also a patron. He died at the age of 71 in Avignon. He was buried in the restored Dominican church there.

On ceramic tiles at the Santo Domingo Monastery in Lima, the figure is sometimes mistaken for Pope Pius V. The error in identification probably comes from the fact that the inscription clearly states "Pius Qvin[...]". However, the two tiles bearing this inscription do not match the rest. The fragment "[...S DE PRATO CA[...]" allows us to assume that this refers to the Cardinal of Prato. The cardinal of Prato coming from the Order of Preachers was only Noccilò Alberti.


  • Theile F., Nikolaus von Prato Kardinalbischof von Ostia (1303-1321. Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde der hohen philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Marburg), Marburg a. L. 1913.
  • H. Ströbele, Nikolaus von Prato Kardinalbischof von Ostia und Velletri, Freiburg 1914.